The days are growing longer, the daffodils are about to bloom and the sun is shining. It’s a great time to get outside, right? Not if you’re sneezing, congested and so tired you can barely get out of bed.
Nothing takes the spring out of your step faster than feeling lousy when you should be enjoying all this time of year has to offer. Here are seven strategies for staying healthy and avoiding illnesses related to the change in weather.
1. Remember Mom’s advice.
Always wash your hands when you get home. One of the reasons we tend to get sick this time of the year is because, with the worst of winter behind us and the sun peeking out, we tend to be out and about more. But the increased social interaction brings increased exposure to germs. The take-home? Be just as vigilant as you were during the peak of winter about washing your hands.
2. Drink up.
Dry nasal passages and a dry throat are an invitation for bacteria to stick around. Start your day with a glass of room-temperature water and the juice of half a lemon. It’s good for digestion and the vitamin C helps you recover from colds faster.
3. Get a good night’s sleep.
Easier said than done, right? Sleep scientist Patrick Fuller, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, does the same things every day to ensure the best possible sleep. He wakes up at the same time every morning, avoids coffee after noon, gets at least 20 minutes of exercise a day and avoids the bright, sleep-sucking lights of computers and phones for at least an hour before bed.
4. Get moving.
The benefits of breaking a sweat are twofold. First of all, several studies—including this one by the British Journal of Sports Medicine—show that physical activity can help prevent or lessen the duration of a cold. Perhaps more importantly, it’s well known that working out helps manage stress which, in turn, keeps your immune system strong.
5. Outsmart your allergies.
If it’s seasonal allergies keeping you down, being aware of the pollen count by checking websites like The Weather Channel, can help you get a handle on the situation. In general, the count is worst on dry, windy days and best after a good rain. If the count is high, make sure to keep your windows closed and get somebody else to cut the grass or do your gardening. (If you insist on doing it yourself, wear a pollen mask.) What’s more, if the count is predicted to be high, stay one step ahead of your allergies by taking medication before symptoms strike.
6. Think dirty.
If you’re serious about staying healthy, you have to be aware of the germs around you. Common culprits include the exercise equipment at your gym, the pen at the bank teller (carry your own), stair railings, shopping cart handles and even your own phone. If you think of all the places you’ve set it during the day, you’ll be more inclined to wipe it down at night.
7. Eat for immunity.
The following foods have all been shown to keep colds and flu at bay: Salmon, oysters, garlic, citrus, fennel, yogurt, kefir, tea, red peppers, mushrooms, leafy greens, blueberries, dark chocolate, carrots, sweet potatoes and oats.
The bottom line? The change in seasons can affect anyone. If you’re feeling under the weather, schedule an appointment with one of our physicians today. No one wants to be suffering from a weather change illness when they should be welcoming spring.